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Heat and Battery Woes

After leaving Caprock Canyons on the 6th, the last five days of my 1,300 mile journey from Wyoming to Texas wind to a close with little worth blogging about. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to get out and explore because I certainly have, but the weather is getting in my way. I’ve been hiding out in the Casita with all of the windows open reading because it’s been hot here in Texas. Often over 90 degrees hot, and that’s not comfortable for hiking and sightseeing when you’re traveling cheaply and don’t have ready access to a shower or air conditioning.

heat-battery-woes-1

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

But I do have a problem that I’m hoping some of my more mechanically inclined readers might have an answer to.

On the 8th I had an appointment at the Casita Factory to get my electric stuff looked at. I didn’t mention this at the time, but when the service department replaced my water heater last April, they did something that messed up my battery charging. My battery died on the way to Wisconsin to drop Julie off and I quickly realized it wasn’t charging through shore power nor when towing.

A look inside revealed a green wire that wasn’t hooked up to anything and I thought that was the culprit. When I contacted Casita, I was given instructions on where to connect it but that still didn’t fix the problem, so then I made plans to bring Cas back in once I got back here to Texas. By April I’d already signed on for Amazon in Haslet so I knew I’d be back.

If you're thinking that road is below the water level, you'd be correct

If you’re thinking that road is below the water level, you’d be correct

To make a long story short, I was at the factory a good five hours while the service team tried this and that. For a while, one of them tried telling me that the charger in my converter must be going bad and he found a few places around Fort Worth where I could get a replacement, but I was sure it had something to do with the water heater install since it worked just fine before that.

Then I overhear a conversation about a damaged ground wire, and a jump in output from 11.8 volts to 13.2 volts with it replaced. That sounds promising. The service guy who works the front end comes out and tells me to forget the converter charger, replacing that one wire fixed the problem.

Site #22 in the Live Oak camping area. There are a lot of oak trees at this park

Site #22 in the Live Oak camping area. There are a lot of oak trees at this park

Sadly I don’t have the right equipment to see if they really did fix the problem or not. Not without running my battery down considerably and then seeing if it charges back up on shore power, but I’m reluctant to do that just in case it isn’t fixed because it’ll damage the battery more than it already is and I don’t know anyone here with an external charger. My cheap little volt meter that plugs into the 12 volt socket reads 12.3 or 12.4 when I’m plugged into shore power and goes no higher, when I’m not plugged into shore power and not running anything electrical it sits at 12.2 usually. I’m not sure if that’s because of the existing damage to the battery (which there was, from running it dry then letting it sit for a week until I could get to my parent’s place last spring) or if things still aren’t charging right.

Site #50 in the same camping area. Nice separation for most sites, some aren't very level though

Site #50 in the same camping area. Nice separation for most sites, some aren’t very level though

I’m reluctant to spend $90 on a new battery in case that isn’t the problem but also don’t want to invest in a gadget that can read the output from the converter as those aren’t cheap either. It’s a conundrum I’ll have to find an answer to before I leave here, because I’m absolutely going to need a working battery and charger if I’m going to go boondocking after this. If anyone has suggestions I’m all ears.

A Plus RV Park. Fanciest washers and driers I've seen outside of a house. And they're free!

A Plus RV Park. Fanciest washers and driers I’ve seen outside of a house. And they’re free!

On Saturday (the 10th), I paid $7 to spend the day inside Lake Mineral Wells State Park just west of Fort Worth. The high was 88 that day and I still spent most of my time inside the Casita reading, but I did walk down to the lake and up to the campground to scope it out which is where the first four photos in this post come from. Mineral Wells offers fishing, hiking, boating, and swimming opportunities, and if I’d been able to get a camping spot (it was full up by the time I arrived) I probably would have partaken in more of them.

As it is, Mineral Wells isn’t too far from my new home base in Alvord and I may well go back for a visit while working at Amazon, once the weather cools down that is. As of yesterday (the 11th) I’m all moved in to my spot at A Plus RV Park. This was not my first campground choice as it’s 37 miles from the warehouse in Haslet, but again it’s the best I could do at the time after the first two campgrounds I made reservations at backed out of the program. I’m hoping to move closer to work as the season progresses, but for now it’ll do. At least I have a shower and air conditioning to combat the heat. Orientation is on the 14th, when I’ll get my finalized shift and job assignment. As soon as I know it, I’ll share it. In the meantime I’m going to relax and enjoy my last two days of freedom, because there won’t be much free time to be had once work starts. Have a good week all!

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Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

My spot (#27) at A Plus RV, my home base while working at Amazon this season

My spot (#27) at A Plus RV, my home base while working at Amazon this season

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

68 Comments

  1. edward on October 20, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Becky, you have (I think) the number 1 blog for ordinary folks so I think there are some very important things that have not been covered here yet.

    1. all type 27 batteries fit within a specific set of dimensions – that’s what the type refers to. It has very little do do with the electrical capacity of the battery. You must read the fine print to find out what you are actually getting for your money in terms of capacity per dollar. For any given dimensional size battery, the best batteries will have twice (!) the capacity of the worst. That makes a serious difference if you are planning on boondocking.

    2. the type 27 battery was popularized for use in Mustangs and Corvairs back in the mid-1960s and, to the best of my knowledge is not made in a true deep-cycle model, tho’ popular in so called marine batteries that are good for casual use but will not stand up to serious draws like a true deep-cycle battery will. A well treated deep-cycle battery will outlast a marine battery by a factor of two — even more if you invest in one of the really high dollar ones.

    3. if you are thinking seriously about adding solar power, one of the most expensive parts is the charger/ converter and if you need a new one, it makes no sense to spend the money on one that you can’t use with your solar panels when you get them.

    4. the battery in your Casita now are probably at least the third replacement so it’s really hard to blame the factory for whatever might have been done along the way.

    I would think seriously about the suggestion above to move the battery to a tongue-mount. Easier to service, easy to use a bigger battery for boondocking, easier to steal (oops, use a good locking box).



    • Becky on October 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      Hi Edward.

      1 & 2. Interesting info and good to know, thanks for sharing.

      3. Thank you for the advice, I do not know yet if I’ll need to replace the converter. We’ll see.

      4. I bought the battery currently in the Casita myself, it’s only a year old. The converter and battery both were working perfectly fine until the water heater replacement at the factory, after which the battery didn’t charge, at all. This caused the battery to become damaged because I unknowingly ran it down to no charge at all, because it was no longer charging on the nights I had hookups. I found a green wire in the same compartment as the water heater (not the battery compartment) that wasn’t hooked up to anything after they did the install, they admit they made a mistake.



  2. Tom Dunn on October 19, 2015 at 9:59 am

    If you have Arizona Eileen’s A-Z Owner’s Guide CD look on page CK23 for a chart of charge levels. 50% is about 12.06 volts.



    • Becky on October 19, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      I don’t have it Tom, but I’ve found plenty of charts online that say the same thing. Thanks.



  3. Gary on October 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Well Becky, I won’t throw in any Battery advice, I’m not an expert anyway. I did learn a lot when adding solar power to my fifth wheel. It still confuses me greatly. Good luck on the successful resolution. I’m dealing with a water leak where the water hose comes in to the coach. Always something when we are pulling our houses down the road. I just made a four month, five thousand mile trek back east for the summer, back in Mesa, AZ for the winter before heading home to Montana.

    Great pics as usual and always interested in your Amazon stories, especially since I buy so much there. Safe travels.
    Gary recently posted..Happy Birthday Traveling BuddyMy Profile



    • Becky on October 18, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Hope the leak is an easy fix Gary, and enjoy your winter!



      • Gary on October 18, 2015 at 8:19 pm

        Thanks



  4. Ron in Tx on October 14, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I would take it to Larry and have the battery mounted on the tongue ,it will give you extra storage and make battery maintenance and replacement a snap. Your in it for the long haul so this would be a good mod.
    Ron in Tx
    Ps enjoy you blog a lot



    • Becky on October 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Thanks for the advice Ron, and glad you’re finding IO enjoyable. 🙂



  5. Joann on October 14, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Becky, I have had my share of battery woes, so I wanted to add a few thoughts. I bought a 2009 Casita when it was two years old. I took it to an RV service place to have it checked out. The service person took time to tell me all about my camper, since this was my first RV experience. A few days later, there was a terrible smell and I determined that the battery had boiled dry. So, I returned to the RV place to get a new battery installed and everything else checked out.

    No one had told me that I needed to check the water in the battery every few weeks. Like you, it was very hard for me to get my battery out. Mine has a little sliding shelf added to help, but it was still very tight and hard to get out.

    Then, I was camping without hookups for a week at the Grand Canyon the next April, and I was running my furnace at night because it was so cold, and I ran the battery completely down. I had been running my generator for two hours per day, but it was not enough to get a full charge. At the time I did not have one of those plug in 12 volt battery meters. I was able to get it charged up sufficiently, but after that it did not hold a charge for long. This was discovered the next fall at Acadia National Park (no hookups). So, I got another new battery.

    I was determined to take care of this new battery, but I still hated checking the water. Also, it is important not to overcharge the battery, and Casitas have a converter that just continuously charges without switching to a trickle charge when the battery is full. The work-around for this problem is to get a battery shut-off installed, so that you can switch your battery off when hooked up to electricity for an extended time. Do you have one of these? My problem is remembering to do this.

    Well, I just got fed up with checking the water, so much so that I bought an AGM battery that is sealed so that you never have to check the water. I also got an upgraded converter installed that will not overcharge the battery. I brought the battery to Larry’s and he installed it and switched out the converter to one that will never overcharge my battery. I would say that this is the most favorite mod I have gotten done to my Casita.

    So, I share your pain with getting the battery out of that tiny door. I will add my voice to those of others……..go where you can get help getting the battery out.



    • Becky on October 15, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Joann. So the AGM batteries will fit inside the compartment in a Casita? I didn’t know that.



      • Joann on October 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

        I got the AGM battery from Batteries Plus. The brand is X2 Power. The number is SLI27AGMDPH. I am sure there are others. This one is a group 27, but I did look at dimensions before buying it, just to be sure.

        Good luck with solving your battery problems.



        • Becky on October 18, 2015 at 7:19 pm

          Thanks Joann.



  6. Reine in Plano on October 13, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Becky, my suggestion is to post about the problem on the Casita Forum and ask if there is anyone close to where you are that could help you out, There are a LOT of Casita owners in and around the Dallas Fort Worth Area. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone on the forum is fairly close to where you are and knows a lot about batteries and Casitas.

    Hitching up and taking it to an auto parts store is also a good idea. However, if they remove the battery but SURE they hook it back up correctly. The leads on the Casita battery are NOT the same colors as on a car battery and it’s easy to get them backwards which causes a LOT of problems. White wire is negative (-), Black wire is positive (+), and Green wire is ground.



    • Becky on October 15, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thanks Reine. Luckily I have a couple months to get it figured out, hehe.



  7. Jerry Minchey on October 13, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Becky,

    Measuring the voltage of a battery is like looking at a mug of beer. You can’t tell how full the mug is until you wait a little while for the foam to go away.

    Likewise, you have to give batteries at least 3 or 4 hours with no load and not being charged so the surface charge can dissipate before you can know what the real voltage level is.

    I like to turn everything off at night and check it the next morning and then you will know what your real battery voltage is.



    • Becky on October 15, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Good to know Jerry, thanks for the advice.



  8. Jim Schmechel on October 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I didn’t carefully read all of the responses here, but I think you will meet someone during your time at Amazon that will help you solve your battery/charging mystery. Just keep telling people you meet (at work and the campground) about what you are trying to figure out (especially people that look kind of handy) and eventually the right person will offer to help you 🙂

    On the warmer days, you could drive to the local library and use the free WiFi with your laptop. If you are camping close to a town.
    Jim Schmechel recently posted..Born of the SpiritMy Profile



    • Becky on October 15, 2015 at 10:01 am

      I’m not sure if Alvord has a library or not, it’s quite tiny. Decatur would I’m sure, that’s the next town down the road.

      And yes, at least I have a couple months to get things sorted.



  9. Kelvin on October 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    As long as you are in Texas, if you have further issues with your Casita just take it to Larry Gamble, Little House Customs. The factory isn’t too swift with repairing anything like this.

    Don’t ever let your battery go below 12v. These batteries can’t be fully discharged. If you keep you battery on the charger while spending months plugged in to shore power your battery will evaporate the water and the battery will be ruined or diminished. The best solution is to replace your converter with a 3 stage converter/charger. That way you can leave the shore power plugged in all the time. In the meantime you can always disconnect the negative side of the battery (once the battery is fully charged) while on shore power and then connect it once a week for a couple of hours. Just make sure it doesn’t touch any ground points.

    http://www.bestconverter.com/PD4655-55-Amp-Converter-Upgrade-Section_p_352.html#.Vh1Ie3mFMdU

    Larry Gamble can install a battery disconnect switch in the battery compartment for you. I had this done on my Casita.

    Good luck



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      Thanks for the advice Kelvin.



  10. Jodee Gravel on October 13, 2015 at 11:01 am

    No battery brilliance I’m afraid, although a new battery is in your future regardless of what else you do 🙁 Those are definitely fancy appliances, and having them for free is sweet! Hope things cool down, but not too much, as the work season starts up. Can’t believe it’s already that time again.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Water – ColorsMy Profile



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Thanks for the well wishes either way Dawn. 🙂



  11. Jim@HiTek on October 13, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Some good advice here so far Becky. Like others have suggested, it’s important to buy a inexpensive voltmeter with digital display to carry with you. Under $15 nowadays. Read the manual and learn to use it, they’re really simple so no problem there.

    Here’s a handy little battery chart showing battery voltage vs %: https://www.google.com/search?q=12v+battery+voltage&rlz=1C1ASUM_enUS574US574&espv=2&biw=1680&bih=925&tbm=isch&imgil=O1nPMjMeB3PBBM%253A%253BJMXR9NMrLv4J5M%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.marxrv.com%25252F12volt%25252F12volt.htm&source=iu&pf=m&fir=O1nPMjMeB3PBBM%253A%252CJMXR9NMrLv4J5M%252C_&usg=__n-Q8Pfo3ZjGdHn0-C0Gx2Xi6Pcs%3D&ved=0CDEQyjdqFQoTCJSvmvDYv8gCFZRPiAodNZMN3Q&ei=ABodVpSvMJSfoQS1prboDQ#imgrc=O1nPMjMeB3PBBM%3A&usg=__n-Q8Pfo3ZjGdHn0-C0Gx2Xi6Pcs%3D

    As far as testing the batteries, Rob’s instructions are great, and they’d work fine. I’d add that the Casita battery voltage would be 12V without shore power and 13-14V with shore power.

    That other suggestion about flipping the breaker by Brian is also excellent. And you can’t hurt anything by following that advice to test your converter. If shutting off a breaker would hurt anything in an RV, you’d hear us all howling and cussing out the manufacturers to no end. Hah!

    Anyway, good luck! I think you’re fine though. From the sounds of it, the factory did find their mistake and fixed it.



    • Jim@HiTek on October 13, 2015 at 10:13 am

      I should mention that any battery reading below 50% of charge (less than 12V) is considered dead and needs to be recharged. That doesn’t mean that the battery is bad, just needs recharging. Chronically discharging a wet cell battery below 50% is bad over the long term.

      But whether a battery is bad or not can be determined with a simple tester most shops and auto parts stores have. And they’ll test for free.
      Jim@HiTek recently posted..Housesitting…My Profile



      • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        Thanks for the advice Jim!



  12. Terri on October 13, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I wish I could help with suggestions on the battery thing but I’m far less mechanically inclined than you. I do like your new home base spot though – nice trees for shade, etc. I didn’t realize Cas didn’t have AC, wow, you are a tough cookie! Here in UT, AC is a must, for sure.

    I admire your tenacity in trying to figure things out and sticking to your guns with the repair folks. I certainly hope that whatever the problem was/is, they fixed it, and if not, they will help to pay for what is ultimately the culprit, if at all possible. (Yes, I sometimes live in a dream world.)

    And I hope for your sake, you get a good shift and assignment at Amazon.
    Terri recently posted..My Relationship with MoneyMy Profile



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Oh, maybe I wasn’t clear. Cas does have AC, but when I travel, I usually dry camp at Walmarts or truck stops to save on money, so I don’t have electricity to run it with, hehe.

      And thanks. In the grand scheme of things, this problem will be just another footnote after it’s fixed, of little consequence in the long run.

      Whatever my shift and job ends up being at Amazon, I’ll endure it for the sake of the pay like I always do. I just need to keep reminding myself it buys my freedom to boondock afterward. 🙂



  13. claire on October 13, 2015 at 8:00 am

    hi, becky, glad you made it safely to texas. if you are still thinking of downsizing, my offer to tour “Sassie Cassie” my 2013 patriot deluxe still stands. i live in lake dallas, tx and will be camping oct 30-nov 2 at lake park cg in lewisville, tx just 4 miles from there if you’d like to stop by either my home or the park to see her.
    sorry i missed you by one day this summer in yellowstone np. regards, claire



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      Heya Claire, I was going to e-mail you as soon as I know what my schedule will be like at Amazon, which I’ll find out tomorrow (the 14th). I’ll contact you after that about a tour as I would like to see a Patriot. Sorry we missed each other this summer too but glad we’ll have a chance now.



      • claire on October 14, 2015 at 5:33 pm

        just let me know your days off, becky, and i’ll be happy to show “Sassie Cassie” to you. if you’re not busy halloween weekend, it would be great if you can join us at lake park cg in lewisville. a group of us will be there from oct 30-nov 2. looking forward to meeting you, claire



  14. david on October 13, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Remember you can buy a voltmeter or converter at Amazon and return them… 🙂
    Also assuming you are talking about your storage not starter batteries, A great source for batteries is used deep cells from a golf course. Call around, this time of year they have Trojan or similar with half their life left for $10 or so.



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      From my understanding, golf cart batteries are taller than my group 27 battery which barely fits in the compartment as is, I couldn’t go with anything larger without significant alterations which some Casita owners who boondock a lot do, but I’m not there yet. Thanks for the advice though David.



  15. Tom Reed on October 13, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Hi Becky: Everyone has come forward with good info, and you should digest it all before acting on it . But I’m sure you have a small tool kit that you carry with you with at least a couple of screwdrivers and plyers,maybe a small hammer . Well a inexpensive volt meter would be a good addition to that kit, and it would also last a while, ad who knows maybe useful to someone else in a pinch (you know how RV’res always help one an other). Good luck with it and keep us in the loop…..TR



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks Tom. I’ll have it solved before I leave Amazon, one way or another.



  16. Evelyn Breutzmann on October 13, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Sorry I can’t help you with the battery problems. You know much more than I do. I’m looking forward to your experiences at the new Amazon facility this year. We’re taking a break from Amazon, but will be very interested to see how Hazlett compares to Coffeyville. Hope its a good experience for you, and you can get your battery issued taken care of!
    Evelyn Breutzmann recently posted..Packing UpMy Profile



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks Evelyn, I’ll have more to report on Haslet soon. 🙂



  17. wally on October 13, 2015 at 5:45 am

    you know, Amazon sells a cheap car battery charger if the built in charger fails, you could always hook up an external battery charger



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Not an easy solution with my older Casita. The battery compartment is very cramped and it would be hard to attach anything to the terminals with it still in the compartment, and as I said I cannot get it out of the compartment without help. I’ve heard newer Casitas have a sliding tray that make accessing the battery much easier.



  18. John Hussey on October 13, 2015 at 4:44 am

    Pick up one of these cheap devices:
    http://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3721-Battery-Charging-Monitor/dp/B000EVWDU0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444729166&sr=8-1&keywords=12v+rv+battery+indicator

    You plug it into your 12 volt female outlet and with just a glance you always know the state of your charger output and, while not charging, the actual state of your battery. There is a handy little chart on the back. It even has led lights to tell you the state of remaining battery charge. All of this simplicity for less that $14.00

    I’m surprised you do not have one always plugged into your 12 volt outlet



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks for the advice John.

      I made a point when I was getting ready to hit the road to buy no more than what was absolutely necessary for RVing, and it’s a policy that still serves me well today. Before now, this tool was not necessary. 🙂



  19. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on October 13, 2015 at 1:17 am

    The best thing I did as part of my solar project was to install a proper battery monitor on the wall inside the motorhome. It tells me all I need to know about the engine battery, but particularly the storage batteries. You need one, but that’s for another day.

    There’s a Harbor Freight in Ft. Worth. Get one of these…

    http://www.harborfreight.com/clamp-on-digital-multimeter.html

    There are cheaper ones there, but get THIS one. You can’t buy for less than Harbor Freight. This tester will serve you well beyond THIS problem.

    Once you have the tester in hand, do those things Rob has suggested.
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Mineral CreekMy Profile



    • Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on October 13, 2015 at 1:20 am

      P.S. Then report back with what you have learned. BTW, that disconnected little green wire IS a ground wire.
      Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Mineral CreekMy Profile



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks for the advice Ed.



  20. Rand on October 13, 2015 at 12:51 am

    https://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/
    This is a good in-depth review of info you will need to know because RV electrical systems have a tough job and need lots of help.
    Lesson One: The red wire said to the black wire “Why are you so sad?”
    The black wire replied “I’ve been grounded.”



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Rand, like that joke, hehe.



  21. Rob on October 12, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    In my experience volt reading things I plug into the lighter always read low.
    12.2v is about 50% on a battery, 12.6 or better is full.

    What you need is a meter like they used at the factory, at Harbor Freight it’s $5-$10, at walmart you might pay as much as $25. I went with the $25 digital one.

    With that meter you can put the probes on your main battery and check the voltage with the engine off, then start the engine and see if your alternator is working (12 something with the engine off, 13-14 with the engine on.
    You can put the probes on your house battery & see what you have, then plug the trailer in and see what you have.

    You could call or text someone and they could talk you thru these dead simple testing procedures as long as you have the meter. $6 at Harbor Freight
    Everyone should have a meter right next to the duct tape & can of WD40.

    37 miles is a long commute, good luck!



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks Rob. Least I can say I have the duct tape and WD40 so I’m not a complete loss. 😉



  22. Joe on October 12, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    As said above, voltage should be above 13 (actual value depends on the charger) when plugged in and charging. This voltage would show up at the battery, but also anywhere else in the system. Until you see that steady voltage when plugged into shore power with the converter turned on, the converter/charger is not working.

    You can test your little plug in volt meter using the truck. Plug it in with the engine off, it should read 12.something. Turn the engine on and the voltage should go up a bit due to the alternator.

    If you still suspect the battery, follow the advice to take it in to a battery store. They can test it in a few minutes. Batteries do wear out, and it sounds like yours has had some tough times, but replacing the battery with a non-working charger will hurt the new one.

    If the converter is suspect, it’s time to start troubleshooting. You’ll need an actual volt meter, which can be purchased for less than $10. You’ll probably need the converter manual, and some familiarity with 12v wiring.

    RV’s are notorious for screw ball things in the 12v system. It could be something as simple as a burnt in-line fuse somewhere that was added by someone and not documented. Cas owners might know it the factory put something like that in. If a previous owner did it then it’s just a matter of detective work.

    Good Luck!



    • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Joe! I’ll test my voltmeter using the truck, and if that’s working right I’ll go from there.



  23. Ron on October 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Sorry to hear of your battery/charging problems. I am not knowledgeable in that dept. so can’t be of any help but let us know when you get it figured out. Great photo of Mineral Wells.
    Hope you have a good run at Amazon and that you can get a closer campground soon. Ron



    • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Glad you enjoyed these pictures Ron, now if only the weather would cool down so I could go back and really see the park. Thanks.



  24. Teri Live Oak, Fl on October 12, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    If you are connected to shore power the volts should read 13+ unless the campground is running low volts whether you have a battery or not. Since the Casita repairmen voltmeter read 13.2 maybe it’s your voltmeter. Good luck Becky



    • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      I don’t think they had a voltmeter, or at least not like mine. I think they had something that hooked up to the terminals on either the battery itself or on the converter somewhere.

      Thanks Teri, I’m going to need it.



  25. Brian S. on October 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Becky.

    Try this to see if your converter is working.

    With Cas plugged into shore power and the battery connected, turn on a couple of incandescent interior lights. Now find the circuit breaker that protects the converter and turn it off, the interior lights should dim slightly. Now turn the breaker back on and the lights should brighten. The output voltage of the converter should be at least 13 volts dc.



    • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      I believe the converter is working. I hear it humming when I’m plugged in anyway and Casita tells me it’s working. I’m reluctant to play with the breakers, I don’t know enough about how this stuff works and I don’t want to get it wrong and damage something. Thanks for the advice Brian. Hopefully I can find someone in the campground willing to help because this is so over my head.



  26. Sherry on October 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I think Patrick’s advice is good. Advance Auto will test the battery for free and advise. Not very impressive on the Casita factory’s part. Seems to me they should have provided you a new battery since their work is what caused you all the problems. I certainly hope they didn’t charge you to fix it.
    Sherry recently posted..Carrie and the Baebes at the 38th Maryland Renaissance FaireMy Profile



    • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Yeah Sherry, I wasn’t very impressed either but at least I didn’t have to pay.



  27. WhitherWeWill on October 12, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Hello,

    You can find voltage profiles for a lead acid battery here:
    https://pssurvival.com/PS/Batteries/Lead_Acid/Lead-Acid_Battery_State_Of_Charge_Vs_Voltage_1993.pdf

    In short, 12.3~12.4 charged is… OK. under 12 is generally territory to get worried, as a rule of thumb. 10.x is basically the battery’s gone. With true deep cycle lead acids (not marine deep cycles), you generally don’t want to discharge under 50%. This is higher for marine deep cycles, car batteries, etc.

    When charging your voltage should read higher, but that depends a bit on the state/phase of the charger.

    Also, though it’s a little off topic… while I’m here, could I ask for a little help in return? I’m curious about your thoughts on the Escapees RV club and if they’re worth the membership fee…



    • WhitherWeWill on October 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      One more thing I should add… try discharging your battery to about 50% of its useable capacity (this will be much less than the advertised capacity but hopefully the casita’s battery meter, if it has one, is tuned to it…)

      This will cause the charger to go into bulk charge mode when it’s next activated… if it’s working correctly, you should see 14v or higher.

      If the battery is charged or near charged, lead acids go into an “absorption” phase where charging is much slower and so the charger might only be supplying ‘float’, AKA maintenance, levels of power.



      • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm

        Okay, that made sense to me but how do I find out what 50% of it’s usable capacity is? I don’t think my Casita has a battery meter, there is no display or anything anyway.



        • WhitherWeWill on October 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm

          Total capacity is often advertised and sometimes there’s a spec label on the battery. So if you have a 300 amp-hour deep cycle battery, I would expect usable capacity to be 150 amp hours and 50% of that is, of course, 75 amp hours. Voltage is about the same for any capacity, I don’t have a chart handing but someone below said 12.2v

          That said… the more I think about it, the more I’m kind of inclined to just recommend the others’ advice. If you take it to an auto place, they can try to charge the battery and test it. If they fully charge it, you know there’s a problem with the converter/charge controller.

          But… if the battery is at max charge somewhere in the low 12.x volt range, there’s a good chance they’ll push you to replacing it. Whether or not you really need to replace it depends on how minimalist your energy usage is and if you have solar…

          If you have solar and only run LED lights (and maybe the pump a tiny bit) at night, you could get by with a pretty damaged battery…

          What others are saying is generally good advice I think, but it is possible to get some mileage out of damaged batteries (I sort of make a hobby of using lead acids my work place throws out). Particularly what someone said about checking at the battery terminal instead of an outlet, do that when measuring.

          ..The one thing I would watch out for is if the battery bloats (from internal gas pressure). That’s “replace unconditionally” in my book.

          If you don’t have solar, want to boondock for a while, and have 12v appliances (electric fridge, etc)… if the battery won’t hold to at least 12.6… you should probably replace it or risk dealing with very low capacity.

          Maybe invest in a state-of-charge meter, or just watch it closely in a multimeter.

          Anyways, best of luck to you!



          • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:25 pm

            Thanks Whither, you’ve given a lot of good advice here and I’ll keep it in mind. it’s looking like taking the battery to Auto zone is going to be the easiest course of action if I can find someone to help me get it out.

            I don’t have solar yet, but I’m going to get it before I go boondocking. If the battery is damaged but still usable, and my charger is in fact working right, I’ll hold onto it for a while yet until it degrades to the point I need a new one.



    • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      The magazine and camping guide are useful, but not essential. The membership can pay for itself if you make use of the discounts at their rainbow RV parks, but as I’m mostly work camping it doesn’t for me. It is a good tool for networking though, if you’re interested in getting together with other RVers in their birds of a feather groups, or interested in attending rallies which are also quite informative I’ve heard.



  28. Patrick Sikes on October 12, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    You might want to take your battery to an auto parts store. They should be able to put it on a tester to see if the battery is done. And they should be able to get it up to a full charge for you if ti is still ok.
    Patrick Sikes recently posted..Happy New Year!My Profile



    • Becky on October 12, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Not a bad idea Patrick, if I can find someone to help me get it out. The battery compartment is so tight it’s impossible for one person to remove it, even my brother couldn’t manage it last spring without help.



      • RJ on October 13, 2015 at 9:13 am

        Just a thought, you could hook up and find a autozone store, they can check the battery in the rig and if you need a new one they will do the heavy lifting and replace it. They do if for cars all the time.



        • Becky on October 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

          Didn’t know that RJ. We’ll see if I can find some help and if not I’ll try that.



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